Three players Celtic must target to replace Moussa Dembele
The 22-year old had joined the Scottish champions in 2016, on a free transfer from English club Fulham. During his time at Celtic Park, Dembele scored 51 goals in 94 appearances, winning two back-to-back domestic trebles.
The Hoops were intent on holding on to their prized asset and had rejected an offer for the Frenchman (h/t Sky Sports). However, the situation became untenable after the player took a dig at manager Brendan Rodgers on social media.
With just Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths as their options at the top, the Hoops must fill the vacancy left by Dembele’s departure. And here are three options they should consider as a replacement.
Dominic Solanke (Liverpool)
As per Daily Express, Celtic were actively pursuing a deal for striker Dominic Solanke a year ago when he was leaving Chelsea. However, they were beaten by Rodgers’ former club, Liverpool. Since then, things haven’t worked out well for the 20-year-old at Anfield, with regular game time hardly coming his way.
Having managed just one goal last season, the Englishman is yet to make a single appearance in the 2018/19 term for the first-team. With Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge ahead of him in the pecking order, opportunities will come at a premium. And Celtic should capitalize on the situation by swooping in for him in January.
Despite his poor debut season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, Solanke’s goalscoring exploits from his days with Chelsea’s youth teams and on loan at Vitesse Arnhem are evidence of his abilities and potential. And he would turn out be an effective replacement for Dembele at Parkhead.
Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan)
Another striker who has previously been on Celtic’s radar (h/t The Scotsman), Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun, 23, could be another solid alternative as Dembele’s replacement.
Azmoun joined Rubin Kazan from Sepahan in his homeland and was loaned to Rostov, before joining them permanently in 2016. A year later, the centre-forward returned to Kazan on a free transfer but he failed to impress, managing just five goals and six assists in 28 appearances last season. However, he has netted twice and set up one more in six games in the ongoing term.
The striker’s international record of 23 goals from 36 appearances for Iran highlights his goalscoring pedigree. And the fact that he scored against European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid during the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League campaign showcases his ability to deliver on the big stages. An all-around striker with pace and technical nous, Azmoun has what it takes to be a constant source of goals for Celtic.
Alexander Isak (Borussia Dortmund)
The 18-year old joined the German giants 18 months ago from Swedish side AIK Solna, after scoring 13 goals in 29 appearances over a short period of time. He has managed just 13 first-team appearances at Dortmund since his arrival in January 2017, however, scoring once and setting up one more.
Isak has been playing with the Dortmund second team in the 2018/19 season and has scored and assisted a goal apiece in 3 matches. A player with immense potential, the Swede stands tall at 6ft 3in and has highly impressive physical attributes for someone so young. Isak is blessed with solid technical abilities, is a good dribbler and has displayed composure that belies his age.
Not very long ago, clubs like Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Juventus were monitoring the 18-year old’s progress (h/t The Sun), highlighting how highly-rated the Swedish forward is. With first-team action not coming his way at Dortmund, Celtic should either look to make a move for him in January or at least bring him on a loan deal till the end of the season.